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Old 01-05-2015, 11:07 PM   #281
Xyantha Reborn
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Sorry it took me so long to respond, Yakatori!

'Renaissance man' (or polymath, as some know it) has several shades of meaning. It can be used in a sort of 'layman's terms' to mean someone who knows a lot in a variety of areas. It is also a historical/political reference...and then there is the flippant meaning it has taken on. And I kind of mean all three!

In that time period there wasn’t the flow of information that we have today. There were men (generally) who were usually highly skilled in reading and writing multiple languages. Their main purpose was to collect and retain information at a time when, as I understand it, people that that was possible to learn all the information in the world. These people didn’t just accumulate information for the fun of it; they gathered this information because it could be traded for money. They would learn things that may be important, travel somewhere, and ‘sell’ that knowledge, be it building a dam or translating a text. They are known for what they could do, but the reason they did it is for money.

In information security, the sheer amount of information/areas are mind boggling. In the CISSP book, nearly every paragraph/page represents an entire area of specialty. So even if you take something as ‘simple’ as encryption; it is relatively easy to understand the concept of encryption…but designing the algorithms, keys…it’s pretty deep stuff. Add to that that the complexity of applying the correct type of encryption…you can easily pick the wrong tool for the wrong job.

Right now, there is an influx of contractors in the IT/Security industry who cycle from company to company just...throwing out random information that has no real context or value to the company. They basically learned some "stuff" and are now peddling it to a company who needs it (the flippancy part comes in because they honestly seem to think they can just glance through a dusty book in the bottom of some monastery and come up with a real life solution to a global company). So they waltz in, say “oh, use encryption B on your mobile devices!” and saunter away. Meanwhile, the company spends a million dollars implementing it only to learn that that particular encryption method is processor heavy and crashes the application, causing loss of security and revenue.

Or, to use another example….DIMS forum uses a search limiter. This is to prevent something called a denial of service attack (on purpose or by accident) by so many requests coming in that their servers go down. They have something like a 30 second timeout – which works for their needs. But imagine a contractor suggesting to have a 30 second timeout between you being able to check your banking records, and if you flip too fast you get locked out. You’d have furious customers, and lost staff…or sometimes they don’t tell the company what to limit; so you search for transactions and it would pull up anything you ever did – EVER. Have thousands of people doing that at once and your servers keel over, which opens you up to OTHER attacks…

Blah. Sorry…IT is my passion…lol!!!

My point is just that people think they can skim the surface and be an expert in every area (and I am all for the 10,000ft view!) but when they begin to honestly think that their high level understanding is expertise…that’s where it frustrates me. Its like saying “I am a Doctor! I know everything about every area of speciality in the entire human body, from neurons to cancer to”…etc etc etc.
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